Month: February 2014

Week 4 #slowchatED Reflection: No Student Is An Island

Cross-posted at Strawn ED.

You know John Donne’s “Meditation XVII.” Here is an excerpt which I hope sounds somewhat familiar:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

This particular section influenced everyone from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton to the American novelist Ernest Hemingway. Now, the real question is this: what in the world does this have to do with summarizing this past week’s #slowchatED discussion focused on building community in the classroom?

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Week 3 #slowchatED Reflection: All Hands in the #EDUhuddle

Cross-posted at Principals in Training

This video is the product of two students (Ben Enbom and John Hassen) at my school, Sir Francis Drake High School.  The ONLY thing I did was give them the driving question.  We collaborated on this project – well, it’s more like I mooched off of their artistry and passion for film.  I didn’t follow them around, I didn’t pick the people they interviewed, I didn’t review the final edit.  We talked ahead of time about my general ideas for this week’s chat and I trusted them to do the right thing.  And guess what?  They did the right thing.  Why am I so un-surprised?  I see kids doing the right thing all the time – they just want more opportunities to make meaningful contributions to the mini-verses of our schools…and beyond.

I’ve thought this question over for years – long before I stepped into my “authority/boss” role as assistant principal: while education certainly is a service we provide, the best classes I’ve been a part of (as a teacher, as an observer) feel like startups – everyone working shoulder-to-shoulder to create something unique.  It got me thinking: do we really want to continue a model where we TELL kids what to do and how to do it, or do we partner up as co-workers?  If we want them to be college/life/universe ready when they depart our (high school) shores, shouldn’t we give them the chance to ACTUALLY have a say in how those four years go?

I threw down a CHALLENGE in advance of the chat:  (more…)

Week 2 Reflection: Professional Learning

Where to even start?!?!

It was a great experience moderating a week-long chat.  And I have to thank Ramsey Musallam for the inspiration via his TED talk: 3 Rules to Spark Learning.

I tweaked his rules to question our own professional learning around curiosity, mess and reflection (roughly).

Speaking of learning, I used Storify for the 1st time (crossed fingers).  Here’s this week’s:

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2.10-16: Students & Adults As Co-Workers

Cross-posted at Principals in Training

This video is the product of two students (Ben Enbom and John Hassen) at my school, Sir Francis Drake High School.  The ONLY thing I did was give them the driving question.  We collaborated on this project – well, it’s more like I mooched off of their artistry and passion for film.  I didn’t follow them around, I didn’t pick the people they interviewed, I didn’t review the final edit.  We talked ahead of time about my general ideas for this week’s chat and I trusted them to do the right thing.  And guess what?  They did the right thing.  Why am I so un-surprised?  I see kids doing the right thing all the time – they just want more opportunities to make meaningful contributions to the mini-verses of our schools…and beyond.

I’ve thought this question over for years – long before I stepped into my “authority/boss” role as assistant principal: while education certainly is a service we provide, the best classes I’ve been a part of (as a teacher, as an observer) feel like startups – everyone working shoulder-to-shoulder to create something unique.  It got me thinking: do we really want to continue a model where we TELL kids what to do and how to do it, or do we shoulder-up as co-workers?  If we want them to be college/life/universe ready when they depart our (high school) shores, shouldn’t we give them the chance to ACTUALLY have a say in how those four years go?

My CHALLENGE to you: invite your students to our chat.  Have them make videos about the ideas we discuss and post them to the chat.  You know what ingredient has been missing for so long in the work I’ve done alongside my adult colleagues for 16 years?  Students in the room, giving us their perspective, ideas, expertise.  Students putting their hand in the huddle when it’s decision-making time.  We can turn that around – but what will that involve?  What will we have to change, give up, leave behind?

I look forward to our time together starting Monday.  Massive UPS to David and Catina for leading off with two tremendous weeks of learning and connecting.  Here are the first few questions to start mulling over:

Q1: Being co-workers implies mutual trust/respect: talk about your school culture through the lens of St/adult relationships: strengths & areas 4 growth.

Q2: Are YOU satisfied with the role your students play (or, if you are a student, YOUR role) in how your school operates?  Is the level of engagement where it should be? Explain why/why not.

Q3: Do you think students need more of a say/voice in HOW your school operates?  In how your class operates?  Why/why not?

Q4: Talk about PD at your school: are Ss ever involved in meetings? In planning sessions? In debriefing how “the work” is going?

Q5: What needs to change in schools/classrooms for students to see themselves as our co-workers? What do we have to give up?

Q6:

CURRENT CHAT: Extending professional learning (above & beyond Twitter) 2/3-2/8

Extending professional learning (above & beyond Twitter) moderated by Catina Haugen

This week’s #slowchated will roughly follow Ramsey Musallam’s 3 rules (from his TED Talk) and we’ll twist it to our own professional learning.  Curiosity comes first: What are you curious about as a professional learner?  Embrace the mess: How can professional learning be messy?  How do we deal with the challenge?  Practice reflection: How do you reflect?  How can we get the most out of reflective practices?

Monday Q1: Curiosity comes first. What prof growth/skills/knowledge r you curious abt that you may/may not be investigating currently? #slowchated

Tuesday Q2: @ramusallam on TED shares rule #2: Embrace the mess. What is the ‘mess’ of prof learning? How do you manage it? #slowchated

Wednesday Q3: Rule 3: Practice reflection. Do you reflect on prof learning? How? With whom? At what pt in process? Goals? #slowchated

Thursday Q4: Do you share your prof learning w Ss? PD experiences? Reading? Convos? Should we? How? To what end? #slowchated #growthmindset

Friday Q5: So now what? A new practice? Narrowed focus? New ideas? curiosity+mess+reflection = now what? What did this wk’s #slowchated spark in you?

 

Sunday Summary: 1/27-2/1 #slowchatED Topic: EduCelebs/All-Stars and how to share and care

Educelebs was a fringe topic for our first #slowchatED, to say the least. I was worried that people who have no “take” on the subject wouldn’t want to join AND I was worried that those so-called EDUcelebs wouldn’t want to touch this topic with a ten foot pole. (Or perhaps they are too busy being #eduAwesome to notice) But I did it anyways for two reasons:

  • Not a bad idea for our first chat to be a smaller one, especially since I had committed myself to writing a summary of the week.
  • I really wanted to learn more about this topic and the best way to learn is to get out of my own head and see what OTHERS think about the subject.

Why did I want to learn more?

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